The Flywheel


The Red Badge of Courage
Red badge rookies share their past and embroider their present en route to Blue Badge status. Not to be missed.


Meeting of NOVEMber 17th, 2006

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Prez George opened the meeting on this fine Friday afternoon. Jim Young read an invocation that was brought back from the Kona, Hawaii club by Sidney Chauvin. Joey Bags led us in the pledge and Prez-Elect Pam gave some thoughts for the day, courtesy of Father Chris.

Visiting Rotarians

AG Don Farquharson was visiting from El Cerrito Rotary today.

Rotarians with Guests

The man from the mountain graced us with his presence today along with his wife Betty, son Kent and granddaughter Corie. Sidney Chauvin brought his lovely wife Zelpha.

Sunshine Report

David K was in the house but dared not speak out of turn.


  • Ren Partridge acknowledged the reading skills of fellow Rotarians who participated in the Peres School Bedtime Story Hour. In addition to Ren, Jan Brown, George Egan, Margaret Morkowski, and EJ Shalaby read stories to Peres School children on Wednesday night. Nick Despota shot pictures of the event (see Projects).
  • The annual Holiday Party is Friday, December 1, at the Richmond Country Club. It’s a joint affair this year with the El Cerrito Rotary Club. Jon Lawlis reminded us that our Club’s higher price includes some extra bottles of wine on the tables.
  • December 15 is the Annual Auction. Got any really creative auction items to donate that people will absolutely want and need to have?


Past President Leslie took the podium to raise some dough. She called first on Gary Bell who celebrates his one year (again) anniversary with the club. Ren Partridge is married to Jeannie for 28 years today! Charlie Fender has been in Richmond Rotary for 39 years.

Happy and Sad Dollars

Joe Bags was thankful to be spending Turkey Day in Yosemite again and also happy about daughter Lana’s promotion. Alan Baer had happy bucks to celebrate moving his business of 11 years into their very own building. Superintendent Bruce was happy about good things going on in the district. Erle Brown had $5 sad dollars for Cal’s poor performance last week but was happy that Stanford finally won one. Rising to the challenge, Dave Calfee showed us his red socks! Herb Cole continued razzing Erle about the upcoming USC/Cal game with a proposal for a wager. No one would take Herb’s action. I don’t know if it’s happy or sad but Joe Nusbaum paid to let us know that one of Nancy Pelosi’s first mandates was that all the potties in both houses and the White House were to be left in the down position. Ralph Hill was happy to see Dave and family proclaiming that Dave was one of the two best club presidents ever. Hmmm.

Leslie Levy was happy that both her sons are traveling the world.

Raffle Results

After some confusion as to who’s name was on the winning ticket, Jim Young, in true Rotary style, left $169 in the pot for next meeting.

The Program

Like a lens that easily shifts from macro to wide angle, the Rotary Club frames the world at both a local and an international scale. Of course, that's something every member knows, yet it's always fascinating to examine just what comes into focus. Consider last Friday.

Hélène Carvallo, our speaker on this day, is a Rotary International Peace Fellow (District 1660, France), participating in a 2-year program at Bolt Holt on the UC Campus. The program is designed to promote tolerance and cooperation among the world's peoples.

Hélène had already earned a degree in International Law before being awarded the fellowship. Just as significantly, she also chalked up valuable hands-on experience in humanitarian projects in the Phillipines, Lebanon, Mexico, and Togo.

Hélène does not want for ambition. Her goal is to end discrimination and violence against women in Muslim countries. Islamic religious law can, and too often is, invoked as justification for the abuse of women. While the most egregious examples—for example, female circumcision and "honor killings"—grab headlines in the West, less horrendous practices still constitute ongoing violations of universal standards of human rights. And it is by leveraging human rights law that Hélène hopes to accomplish her objectives.

International law, she noted, is but one tool for effecting change. Economic development, journalism and the media, public policy work: multiple roads can lead to the same destination. Hélène stressed, however, that whatever the approach, one's effectiveness depends on the ability to demonstrate appropriate respect for people's cultural practices and beliefs. Prompted by a question, she acknowledged that this doesn't mean indiscriminately respecting, and accepting, all traditional practices.

During Q&A, Hélène commented that one of the things she admires about America is that young people are encouraged to believe in themselves, to rely on themselves and not the government or others to get things done. In France, she says, there are too often a sense of desperation and a lack of hope among young people, as if the government and others should be doing more for them.

With a diplomatic maturity beyond her years, Hélène also offered the thought that one of the things detracting from America’s reputation in the world is the perception that we think we have all the right answers and that we’re much too eager to teach them to others.

-This week's Flywheel was a true team effort by Tom W., Jon, and Nick D.